While I’m all about supporting local artists, let’s face it—when you find a great piece or a particular artist that speaks to you in some way, sometimes it’s worth it to invest in shipping costs and foreign currencies to enhance your collection. If you’re thinking about buying art from overseas or internationally, these are a few things to consider to ensure you have the best possible experience.

Research the Artist

Your first step before buying any piece of art either locally or internationally should be to research the artist. Review their website to make sure the piece you are buying is authentic and to find out a bit of its history (ie. when it was made and where it has been exhibited). Look for testimonials from other buyers and examples of the artist’s pieces in clients homes. You can also follow the artist on social media to try to learn more about them, and to get a good grasp of their production methods. You can check out my artist diary on my instagram @clarehaxby.

Connect With the Artist

The easiest way to find out more about an artist or a particular collection or piece is to contact the artist directly. Drop them a line and have a chat about their current work, their upcoming projects or even custom commissions. As an artist I’m always open to phone calls or Skype chats with potential clients. However, every artist is different, so you may want to send them an email first just to touch base.

Inquire About Packaging

Packaging is of the utmost importance when shipping an artwork overseas. For larger artworks like paintings or sculptures, you will want to make sure that the piece is boxed or crated. This might add to the weight of the piece, which can raise shipping costs, but it is money well spent to ensure your piece arrives safely. Smaller pieces like prints should be also be in sturdy packaging, like the strong cylindrical packages I use for all my limited edition prints. You can read more about my art print packaging here.

Inquire About Shipping

Be sure to ask the artist whether shipping fees are included in the overall cost, as these can add up depending on how large the artwork is and where you are shipping it to. In addition, you should find out who will be doing the shipping. If is is a large scale piece, will it go with an art transporter or someone with experience transporting art? If not, it may be worth your while to invest in a professional art shipping company.

Insurance is Key

No matter how large or small your piece, insurance is always a good idea. This will protect you against any potential damages or even loss. Make sure the artwork is photographed before shipping, and then check it on arrival and compare it to the photo to make sure there is no damage. You may also want to look into proper methods of unpacking and ongoing maintenance, to ensure your artwork stays in the best possible condition for years to come.